Stress Management Tools for Men
First, focus on what your are doing well. The human mind is hardwired to focus on what is going wrong, where threats are coming from and that which is negative. It is critical that we learn to train our brain to focus on our strengths, our passions, what we are doing well during stressful times, such as we have currently.
As far as tools to turn down the volume on stress and the subsequent anger it sparks, here are some useful tools …
Be aware of your bodily sensations (e.g., tightness in chest, shallow breathing, rise in heart rate) so you can instantly tell when you are beginning to get angry or stressed
When you first sense stress or anger, take a break from the situation (e.g., take a walk outside, exercise, watch a comedy, count from 10 to 1, breathe deeply).
To alleviate the anger at yourself, remember self-compassion. Talk to yourself as you would a young child (e.g., 2-3 years old). Be kind, understanding and compassionate. Try not to yell at yourself (in your head).
Ask yourself “Will this matter 10 years from now?” Odds are, the answer will be “No”. Then take steps to relax (as above).
Remember to continue facing your fears one at a time. Look for small steps of improvement.
Visualize yourself as a fishing net stretched across a river. The river is the world of emotions rushing towards you. You are the net. You allow all negative emotions to race right through you. All positive emotions (e.g., contentment, joy, pride, curiosity, awe, love, etc.) are caught and kept by you (the net).
Breathe deeply 3 minutes per day (into your abdomen or stomach region). When you breathe in, your belly should inflate like a balloon. When you breathe out, your belly should deflate. Inhale for 6 seconds, hold for 1, exhale for 8 seconds, hold for 4. Repeat 5 times.
Listen to a progressive muscle relaxation file 4 times in the next 7 days to reduce your overall emotional arousal level.
Ask yourself, “Is this something under my control?” If the answer is ‘no’ then let it go.
For more stress management and anger management tools, check out my site at http://www.GuideToSelf.com and the video blog at http://drjohnsblog.wordpress.com.
Have a great week!
All the best,
John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Award-winning author, founder of Guide to Self